Parental income and custody decisions
During child custody disputes in California, a parent who earns less than the other parent might be concerned about how their income might influence the court’s ruling. While a parent’s income might be considered when a court is deciding on custody, it is only one of many factors that will be evaluated.
The factors that affect custody
Factors that affect how custody is awarded can vary from state to state. However, besides each parent’s financial situation, there are some common factors that are usually considered, including:
- The child’s age, needs and wishes about where to live
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- Each parent’s ability to meet their child’s various needs
- Each parent’s role in their child’s upbringing before the custody dispute
- Any history of domestic abuse, child abuse, abandonment or neglect by a parent
- Any history of alcohol or other substance abuse by a parent
- The environment where the child will live, including the home, school and extra-curricular activities
Additional impact of a parent’s finances
The actual ruling on child custody is made by the judge after analyzing a wide range of factors, based on protecting a child’s best interests. As such, a parent’s financial situation can play a different role in the process. A higher-earning parent, for example, might have access to more financial funds to pay for costs related to the custody dispute, such as those of hiring lawyers.
Income and child support
Where a parent’s income might play a significant role, however, is related to child support. When a parent is granted primary physical custody, the non-custodial parent’s income will be reviewed when determining if child support will be awarded.
Do not let the other parent’s income intimidate you. Instead, be ready to show the court you can provide a stable, loving home for your child to grow.